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Erectile Dysfunction And Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Jun 18, 2010 Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a distressing condition where a man is unable to maintain an erection to have a satisfactory sex life.  It affects self-esteem, relationships and takes the joy out of sex. Impotence is another name for erectile dysfunction and causes are generally psychological.  In some cases underlying health conditions involving the heart, nervous system and medication causes ED. Most men encounter erectile dysfunction at some time in their lives and many overcome it to have fulfilling sex lives.  Stress, anxiety, an unhealthy lifestyle, depression, tiredness and alcohol cause impotence and is not a major cause for concern. Experiencing regular erection issues may be cause for concern so it is important to visit your doctor.  Lifestyle questions, health checks and a genital examination help to determine why you are experiencing such symptoms. Treatment varies according to the reason why you have erectile dysfunction. Impotence may be a sign of Pulmonary arterial hypertension which is a serious heart condition in over a billion adults every year. It is a fatal condition claiming 7000 lives globally every year. Men with the condition often suffer from erectile dysfunction so it is important to make sure this is not the root of your problems.  (Source: Escardio.org)

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What Is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension?

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) affects the smaller branches in the pulmonary arteries. The artery walls thicken and become rigid making it difficult for blood to flow through them.  Blood pressure rises increasing the risk of a heart attack. In rare cases, PAH is hereditary and exists on its own or more commonly occurs as a result of other conditions. Conditions contributing to PAH include; scleroderma, hole in the heart, high blood pressure in the liver, HIV, medication, thyroid gland disorders, sickle cell anaemia, glycogen disorders, and certain lung conditions.  Diagnosis takes a long time because the symptoms are similar to other conditions. Your doctor carries out a number of tests and analyses how it affects your life before being able to make a definitive diagnosis. Treatment includes; anti-clotting medication, water tablets and oxygen treatment.  Other treatments relax the arteries and reduce blood pressure. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary to clear the arteries some people require heart or lung transplants. (Source: NHS.UK)

Erectile Dysfunction Treatments And PAH

Ironically Viagra, Levitra and Cialis treat both erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension.  In fact, the erection inducing qualities of these drugs are a side effect of treatments for PAH. This happy accident means there is a chance that impotence as a result of  PAH is curable. ViagraLevitra and Cialis belong to the family of drugs called phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors.  They treat both PAH and erectile dysfunction because the blood vessels in the lungs are similar to those in the penis.  You must not take them if you are taking medicines containing nitrates. They work by relaxing the arteries allowing blood to flow better.  Conditions such as; mountain sickness and Raynaud's disease also respond well to this medication.  Some people suffer side effects such as headaches, indigestion, nasal congestion and back pain. It is extremely important to keep in close contact with your doctor to ensure there are no adverse effects.

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By Parv Sagoo (May 2018)

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